I don’t think I’m alone in the millennial generation in saying that I am in the full swing of a Quarter-Life Crisis.
Similar to a mid-life crisis, the Quarter-Life Crisis involves a daily mantra of “What am I doing with my life?” “Am I making a positive impact on my community?” “Am I doing everything I can to further my career?” “Do I even want this to be my career?”
While I love living in Alaska, it has definitely derailed me professionally. What I went to school for, and what I was aiming my career towards in South Carolina, isn’t really a big focus here. (FYI: I went to school for International Marketing & Travel & Tourism, but was working towards being a sales trainer and creating marketing content when we moved.)
Up here, professional opportunities for what I love are… limited. There aren’t a lot of huge corporations looking for someone to come in and train their staff, or the ones that are require more technical/engineering knowledge than what I posses. There are some amazing marketing and advertising firms here, but I don’t have that kind of experience for them to consider looking at my resume. The jobs that I see online that I think scream “Yes! Emily would nail this!” apparently don’t feel the same, judging by the lack of replies I get when I apply.
In my current job, I get to sell; but I’m limited on the creativity I can use to reach out to customers and impact my sales message (partially due to stringent industry standards, partially because I am a contract employee with strict limitations.) It is incredibly frustrating to try to deliver a sales message I believe in to customers who aren’t interested or who view myself and my peers as nuisances. It’s also incredibly frustrating being a contract employee because there is this unspoken understanding that I am not the same as my co-workers – they are eligible for awards and rewards that I am not. And if I’ve learned anything from my DISC assessment, it’s that Emily likes praise and recognition.
So I’m trying to find that satisfaction elsewhere.
I’ve teamed up with a few organizations here – Big Wild Life Runs, Anchorage Running Club, and United Way – Emerging Leaders – to be able to flex that creative drive I have and devote my free time to truly enjoyable things.
With BWLR, I’m one of the Key Members on their Communications & Media team, working to spearhead a digital campaign to increase awareness of the event, as well as increase participation by community members and increase out-of-state tourism. I love it – I get to pitch fun ideas, and when our race director gives me the green light to dive into a project I become obsessed.
I finally wore down the Anchorage Running Club president into letting myself and another marketing-minded girl create a marketing committee to increase awareness of the Running Club and work to drive membership – especially towards the younger generations. I’m excited to see the ideas we have come to fruition and see if we can increase brand awareness of the club in Anchorage.
The United Way Emerging Leader’s club allows me the chance to volunteer all over Anchorage, and network with other young professionals. This is both a blessing and a curse, since I’m terrified by the “what do you do” question. What do you mean, ‘what do I do?’ For money, I do this. For personal satisfaction, I do that. For enjoying my time in Alaska, I do stuff. It’s like I need an asterisk behind my response that says “Please let me elaborate, but don’t judge me for not having my shit together at 26!”
Ugh, now this sounds all woe is me. Woe isn’t me. I’ve been able to cultivate a pretty great social life in the 18 months we’ve been in Anchorage, and make great friends whom I genuinely enjoy. I now get to see my husband almost every single night (something that definitely didn’t happen with my old job). I have two adorable dogs who are always up for a walk or a car ride or just cuddling on the couch. Life is by no means bad or unsatisfying. I’m just not being challenged in my job and it’s leaving me underwhelmed.
So now, I get off my laurels and work to make it better.
I can’t be the only one. Any thoughts on powering through a career stalemate? Or just celebrating that you’re going through a QLC too?